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April 4th, 2011 | Asia

Ride to Siem Reap…

The Big Fella was first out of the parking area, eager to get going...

Apart from a brief pit-stop to refuel as we were leaving Phnom Penh, we made the 325 km ride to Siem Reap without stopping…

Four hours of hard riding, and much of it made through traffic, as this was the main route between Thailand and Cambodia…

For the first half hour I struggled with a bout of nauseousness that had me thinking about the wisdom of quitting smoking…!!

I was certain that the nausea was not as a result of something I had eaten… My chest also seemed to be on fire, and I had short bouts of the worst possible heartburn that I can recall…

I dropped back behind a bus and sat there for about 15 minutes, not caring about keeping up with Trevor and Morgan…

I wanted the ride to be over almost before it had begun… Then I passed Morgan waiting on the side of the road for me… He gave me an enquiring thumbs up, and I indicated that things were not as pleasant as they could be…!!

Further up the road I passed Trevor, who was riding slowly, waiting for us to catch up…. I came up alongside and told him I was not feeling well, but would push on in the hope that things would improve…

Locked and Loaded... Ready to ride to Siem Reap and Angkor Wat...

Without stopping, I managed to reach behind me and get a bottle of water out of one of the bags strapped on my pannier, and after downing the bottle, felt a little better…

I eventually got into a good rhythm again and worked my way to the front of our little group and stayed there for the next hour or so, riding harder than I needed to, but using the speed and the traffic to take my mind off the urge to stop and buy a packet of smokes…

At times the desire was almost overpowering…!! Strong stuff, that nicotine…!! Stronger stuff, that GB brain…!!

Four beds on a scooter and trailer...!!

After two and a half hours, I began looking for a place to stop for a break… We had made good time up until that point and I was not sure how long Morgan and Trevor liked to ride before they too took a rest…. Our one and previous ride together with Morgan, was the short haul from Kompong Cham to Phnom Penh, which took us barely two hours, so a rest stop had not been needed…

The ride went by without a hitch once I had got over my nausea, and by lunchtime, we were nearing Siem Reap...

At this point we had passed through Kompon Thom and Sankor, and were now riding to the east of Lake Tonle Sap… We were out in the countryside and traffic was not as hectic as it had been for the first part of our ride… Then I recalled another of my habits and reasons for stopping every two hours or so… A smoke…!!

I shook off the thought, indicated to the guys that I was pushing on, and gave the throttle a sharp twist to let the Big Fella know that I needed all the horses he could spare, to take me away from temptation…!!

We arrived at the entrance to Siem Reap, and were surprised at the size of the town…  I remembered then that this was the only other place in Cambodia that had an international airport… There were many direct flights here from destinations in the Far East such as Hong Kong and other cities in China…

By lunchtime we had arrived at the New Bequest Hotel in Siem Reap...

We had set our GPS’s for the New Bequest Hotel, which Simon and Lisa had stayed at, but after just a few hours there, decided that we would be checking out the next morning to find more suitable digs….

Not only did the internet not work at all, despite the managers assurances that it did, but the rooms were also a tad dirty, the air-con in mine sounded like a Cessna about to take off, and Morgan’s room had him dashing off to the local supermarket to buy air-freshner and dis-infectant…!!

And I managed to try out a trio of new Fanta Flavours... Bonus...!!

He then went from room to room on the ground floor where we had all managed to secure rooms, and sprayed the air freshner in more than liberal quantities into both the bedrooms and the bathrooms…

He even put his head into the room across from mine where a group of backpackers had just checked in, and surprised them with a long blast from his tin…

We took a quick shower and then went out to look for another hotel…. As luck would would have it, we found one just around the corner, not more than 100 metres away, which was “a better shit-hole than the shit-hole we had checked into” in Morgan’s opinion…!! And it was at the same price, $15 a night…

There were at least a few dozen restaurants in the immediate vicinity, so we did not have far to walk to find a decent meal… Trevor’s eyes lit up at the signs advertising beer for just 50 cents…!! From that moment on, he would never refer to restaurants by their proper names, but only by the fact that they either had 50 cents beers, or not…!!

Here’s a short example of “Trevor-speak” in Siem Reap…

T: “Let’s go to that place on the corner near the bookshop… You know, the place with the 50 cent beers…!!”

R. “You mean the Mexican place…??”

T. “Hell, I don’t know…!! The place with the 50 cent beers, man…!! Right next door to that other place that doesn’t have the 50 cent beers…!!”

C. “The one with green furniture…?? Close to where we had the ice-cream last night…??”

T. “No, no…!! The beers were more than 50 cents there…!! I mean the other place….you know…with the 50 cent beers…….!!”

I had a feeling that by the time we left Siem Reap, there would no longer be beers on offer at 50 cents…

©GBWT 2011

2 comments to Ride to Siem Reap…

  • Charmz

    I think its about time you shipped a crate of all the different Fanta flavours to me for testing, seen as though you have already experienced more than twenty on your journey so far. Its just not fair that we have to drink the same old orange, grape, and pineapple. We are happy to see your willpower is paying off…..keep it up.

  • Mark Behr

    Great that you have support while you work at defeating the smoking beast. Hope you are able to enjoy the places and not feel to irritable or cranky. Well done !

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